Director, Alaska Program

Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Department: Field Conservation
Supervisor: Vice President of Field Consrvation Programs


The Director of Defenders of Wildlife’s Alaska Program leads Field Conservation staff and programs in Alaska.  The Director ensures effective on the ground implementation of imperiled wildlife and habitat conservation described in Defenders’ Alaska’s program plan.  The Alaska program plan utilizes a wide range of policy, legal, advocacy, outreach and scientific strategies to conserve imperiled wildlife and habitat throughout Alaska. 

The Director is responsible for supervising and providing strategic direction to Alaska Field Conservation staff, ensuring the effective implementation of the programs for which they are responsible and efficiently and effectively managing the office.  Priorities include conserving threatened polar bears, endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales and other imperiled species in the state; promoting coexistence tools to reduce human-wildlife conflicts; addressing federal land management issues on national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands that impact sensitive wildlife species and important landscapes; addressing and amplifying global climate change impacts on Alaska ecosystems and wildlife; and maintaining and enhancing the ecological integrity of priority wildlife habitat and the conservation of biodiversity in general. The Director provides leadership and support for outreach efforts in the state, with a priority on engagement with underrepresented communities. The Director works closely with the Vice President for Field Conservation Programs, other senior managers, field staff, and interdisciplinary teams on developing and coordinating strategies, campaigns, workplans, programs, projects, publications, coalitions, communications, organizational growth, educational materials, reports, and budgets. 


  • Develop and implement Alaska program strategies and workplans including, but not limited to, imperiled species and recovery and habitat conservation, federal land management, climate change and biodiversity conservation planning.

  • Supervise Alaska-based field office staff, interns, volunteers and contractors.

  • Influence federal, state and local wildlife policies through administrative, legislative, and judicial forums, using a range of strategies including but not limited to: grassroots and direct advocacy efforts with government officials, seeking policy and programmatic changes in relevant federal and state agencies, recommending litigation where appropriate, and providing technical support to legal teams.

  • Represent Defenders in coalitions, public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, and in general communications with the media, the public, Defenders’ membership, and public officials.

  • Actively promote and expand Defenders’ Alaska wildlife campaigns and projects through lobbying, testimony, comments on proposed policies, media development, and coalition-building with existing and new partners in the conservation community, rural advocates and the Alaska Native community.

  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with members of key federal and state agency staff, Alaska elected and appointed officials, and other relevant NGOs.

  • Oversee Alaska’s public outreach, and media functions (in cooperation with the Vice President for Communication) for the Alaska program, seeking maximum exposure and credit for Defenders’ work.

  • Coordinate wildlife and federal land management advocacy efforts in Alaska with Defenders’ public lands, communications, marketing and science staff.

  • Facilitate and promote the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion strategies into Defenders’ programmatic and outreach work in Alaska.

  • Provide timely briefings to the President’s Office, senior management, and program staff on significant developments and new opportunities for Alaska conservation work.

  • Follow all internal administrative procedures, including timely approval and preparation of all administrative reports.

  • Assist all Defenders’ departments with tasks relating to education, development, membership, publications, litigation, grassroots, and media coverage.

  • Work with Membership and Development staff to identify new funders, and to continually raise funds to support Alaska program staff and conservation work

  • Develop short- and long-range operating objectives, organizational structure, and staffing requirements.

  • Develop and recommend departmental budgets prior to the start of each fiscal year

  • Ensure optimum performance of group function. Recommend and implement techniques to improve productivity, increase efficiencies, cut costs and maintain state-of-the-art practices.

  • Recommend, review and implement employment actions, including interviewing, hiring, promotions and raises, in conjunction with Human Resources. Partner with Human Resources in the handling of disciplinary issues.

  • Ensure communication of duties and responsibilities to direct reports and monitor performance. Provide regular coaching and counseling. Identify training needs. Prepare and deliver performance reviews; review and approve performance and salary appraisals as necessary.

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education: Advanced degree in natural resources science, public policy, conservation biology, law, wildlife management or related discipline.

  • Experience: 10+ years of progressively responsible, substantive experience with resource policy and with a working knowledge of conservation biology and indicator/umbrella species. Strong management, planning, and administrative skills, including 2+ years of non-profit management/supervisory experience. Experience developing, implementing, and managing legislative and advocacy conservation campaigns. Other relevant experience with public policy, grassroots organizing, communications, editing, and/or development. and grant writing experience. Substantial relationships and experience working with federal agencies including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service.

  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.


  • Strong writing and verbal communications skills, including familiarity working with the media.

  • Demonstrated leadership and strategic thinking skills.

  • Significant working knowledge of federal agencies, laws, and policies dealing with use and conservation of natural resources and wildlife including the Endangered Species Act, National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

  • Demonstrated awareness of and experience with the concerns and needs of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.

  • Ability to operate effectively as an advocate of Defenders' programs, preferably with demonstrated experience working effectively with coalitions.

  • Ability to analyze research, information, and produce quality work products in a consistent, efficient, and timely manner.

  • Ability to multi-task and handle multiple projects.

  • Ability to supervise, coordinate, train, evaluate, and motivate program staff, interns and volunteers. 


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. 


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


  • Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.

  • Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.


  • Up To $98,000 



Interested applicants should complete an application for employment. Please reference Director, Alaska Program in your subject line and submit your completed application, a letter of interest and resume to us via e-mail at:


It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.